We can't travel to other countries for while but flavours from all over the world are on our doorstep, writes Megan Wood

After weeks of lockdown, and international travel still off the table, food is the obvious way to explore the world. And so, I recently began a bountiful, food-centric tour around the streets of Auckland and (just) beyond. Eating my way around the globe, I wanted to explore, to try incredible street food and to enjoy just a little bite of those incredible, delicious faraway places we can't quite visit right now.

From Vietnam to Argentina, Italy to Sri Lanka, this is just a taste of what I found.

Israel

Carmel Israeli Street Food

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Carmel's Isreali Street Food. Photo / Supplied
Carmel's Isreali Street Food. Photo / Supplied

Carmel Davidovitch was missing the street food of Israel, after moving back to New Zealand where she was born, especially the pita bread. Being a baker by trade, Carmel decided the solution was to make her own. Now, with husband Tom, she runs a food truck serving up soft, fluffy pita bread filled with falafel, fresh, seasonal salads and more. Of their food, Carmel says: "We want to create a culinary adventure for people, without them having to travel too far."
Find it: Select Saturdays at 340 Point Chevalier Rd, from 4:30pm. See Facebook.com/Carmelisraelistreetfood for upcoming dates.

Vietnam

Banh Mi Delight

Banh Mi Delight. Photo / Supplied
Banh Mi Delight. Photo / Supplied

Perched outside Lynn Mall, Banh Mi Delight is everything a banh mi truck should be: unpretentious, affordable and delicious. The lovely woman making our banh mi smeared a roll with traditional pate as she told me the truck had been open for just over a year, then she layered my choice of meat and added cucumber, pickled carrot and the obligatory chilli and coriander. It had the just-right flavour of a banh mi, one that is hard to pin down, but you know when it is missing.

Banh Mi Delight. Photo / Supplied
Banh Mi Delight. Photo / Supplied

Find it:

at 3058 Great North Rd, New Lynn (outside LynnMall). Open 8am-6pm every day.

Canada

Poutine Machine

Poutine Machine. Photo / Supplied
Poutine Machine. Photo / Supplied

As he finished a PHD in cognitive psychology, Canadian Nathan Ryckman decided to open a food truck. "I didn't want to stay in academia," he says, "and I have always wanted to do something with food." After perfecting his gravy based on the classic diners of Montreal, Nathan opened Poutine Machine in January this year, serving classic Canadian poutine - fries smothered in gravy and curds - with a rotating menu of special toppings. Vegan options are also available and the poutine is gluten-free.
Find it: all over Auckland. More at Facebook.com/PoutineNZ

Mexico 

The Lucky Taco

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The Lucky Taco. Photo / Supplied
The Lucky Taco. Photo / Supplied

Sarah and Otis Frizzell fell in love with the food truck thing while honeymooning in LA. "We then decided to move to Mexico for two months and really live the food," Sarah says, then they launched The Lucky Taco in 2013. These days, they're known for their handmade tortillas and authentic fillings. "We even did lamb's brains for a while," recalls Sarah, "we don't do that anymore but we still do a beef tongue taco, it is one of our most popular." The Lucky Taco has since launched a retail arm selling hot sauces, chilli salts and taco kits.

The Lucky Taco. Photo / Supplied
The Lucky Taco. Photo / Supplied

Find it:

at Urbanaut Brewery Co, 597 New North Rd, Kingsland, on June 21, June 27, and July 5, 12pm-4pm. More at

and

France 

Miam  Miam

Miam Miam French Hot Dogs. Photo / Supplied
Miam Miam French Hot Dogs. Photo / Supplied

Sebastian Paree, of Miam Miam, has his kids to thank for giving him the inspiration for his sausage business. "My kids were complaining that they couldn't get the taste of real French sausages here in New Zealand and told me I should try to make some. So I did." The sausages were a hit, his kids declaring them to be "miam miam" which basically translates to "yum yum". It gave Paree an idea: what if he used his sausages to make French hot dogs? He teamed up with a French baker to make the perfect baguette and now Miam Miam hot dogs and sausages are going strong.

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Miam Miam French Hot Dogs. Photo / Supplied
Miam Miam French Hot Dogs. Photo / Supplied

Find it:

at Coatesville Market on August 2. More at

Argentina

Sabores Empanadas

Sabores Argentine Food. Photo / Supplied
Sabores Argentine Food. Photo / Supplied

In Argentina, Ana and Reinaldo had their own empanada shop. So when they moved to New Zealand, it seemed natural to start cooking again. Hand-rolled pastry filled with traditional Argentinian beef, chorizo sausage, mushrooms and more, the Sabores (meaning flavour in Spanish) empanadas are a hand-held delight. Lockdown was tough for the couple but as soon as level 4 ended they began to operate their truck from their own driveway in Manukau, to the delight of the entire neighbourhood. Sabores offers gluten-free and vegan options, as well as other delights such as patatas bravas and chimichurri beef rolls.

Sabores Argentine Food. Photo / Supplied
Sabores Argentine Food. Photo / Supplied

Find it:

at Kumeu Market on June 21. More at

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Italy

Amaranto Pasta & Cucina

Amaranto Pasta & Cucina. Photo / Supplied
Amaranto Pasta & Cucina. Photo / Supplied

When he found out his wife, Luisa, was gluten intolerant three-and-a-half years ago, trained chef Tommaso Baldassarri started playing around with gluten-free flours, trying to come up with an alternative. The result is a culmination of experimentation that spanned a year - and eight different flours - and is so close to the real thing you will be amazed. Luisa and Tomasso decided they wanted to take their gluten-free masterpiece on the road and found the perfect vintage caravan for the job. Based in Warkworth, they serve their pasta with an ever-changing list of sauces derived from old family recipes.

Amaranto Pasta & Cucina. Photo / Supplied
Amaranto Pasta & Cucina. Photo / Supplied

Find it:

at Orewa Pop-up Diner (inside Drifter Coffee), 3 George Lowe Place, Orewa on June 18, 5pm-8:30pm. More at

Sri Lanka

Indy's Curry Pot

Indy's Curry Pot. Photo / Supplied
Indy's Curry Pot. Photo / Supplied

Sri Lankan-born chef Indika Bombuwala wanted to venture out on his own. "I decided last year to buy a food truck and convert it to just what I needed. I have a small menu, which changes daily, based on what ingredients I source from local suppliers." Offering everything from his mouth-watering goat curry to popular vegetarian curries and dahl, Indy has a loyal following on Waiheke Island and for everyone else, well it is only a quick ferry ride away and so worth the effort.

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Indy's Curry Pot. Photo / Supplied
Indy's Curry Pot. Photo / Supplied

Find it:

at 20 Tahi Rd, Ostend, Waiheke Island from Monday to Friday 4-7pm. More at